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Liar, Liar Pants on Fire


Don’t let the title of this offering make you think it has anything to do with the recent election though it does seem as if truth took a beating the past few months.

The seed for this ‘pearl of wisdom’ comes from a few recent tag lines I heard as well as some of the work we did for a couple of somewhat recent clients. Being a fan of marketing and especially an appreciator of branding and posturing, count me a major fan of tag lines…especially clever ones.

So as not to indict anyone I will attempt to convey the idea behind the tag line in question without being too specific. Everyone loves a happy customer and even more, a loyal one. Now some may say I am splitting hairs and/or playing a game of ping pong semantics but bear with me.

What is wrong with this ‘picture’? (Take your pick.)

     ‘Our Most Important Goal Is A Satisfied Customer!’

     ‘Our Most Important Goal Is A Happy Customer!’

     ‘Our Most Important Priority Is A Satisfied Customer!’

     ‘Our Most Important Priority Is A Happy Customer!’

The problem with this being any company’s most important goal/priority is that it is either misguided at best or a bold face lie at worst. I would argue that the most important priority for any company is to be profitable.

Now, you may be thinking that I am wasting your time by stating the obvious but consider the following; if indeed a company’s most important goal is to keep people happy and satisfied, then why not just give it away? If you design, build, install ‘X’ and charge $Y per hour don’t you believe your customer would be happy and satisfied if you charged less or even did it all for free?

This is not to suggest that one does not have happy and/or satisfied customers while making a healthy profit, but only to underline that the real goal is profitability, not client or consumer bliss.

The two projects serving as the inspiration for this post both involved business development and assisting in their marketing. Both companies were brand new and both clients could not have been more excited about their new venture. Along the way, one thing became painfully obvious, neither had a pro forma or any understanding of what it would take to make their business…drum roll please…profitable.

Yes, I believe when we were finished, these companies had a much better blueprint for success and some pretty nice tools to help them build new business. However, if you are selling time/hours or if you are selling widgets, you need to have a clear understanding of how many ‘units’ you need to sell each day/week/month and how much of the revenue generated will go into your pocket or how much of it will go to keep your customers giddy.

‘Quantify’ should not be a foreign word to any business owner nor should P&L statements a foreign concept.

It is always exciting to get new ‘stuff’ whether it is a new logo, business cards, website, collateral material, etc. but these should be more than just props in a play. Don’t play business…do business.

It is like the old saying goes, ‘If you don’t keep score, how can you tell if you are winning or losing?’ If you are making a healthy profit, everyone will be happy, including your customers.

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Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

www.cmconl.com

About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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